Kipnis relieved after busting out of slump

Kipnis relieved after busting out of slump

Kipnis relieved after busting out of slump

CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis chopped a pitch from Twins starter Liam Hendriks through the infield and into center field for a first-inning single on Saturday night. It might have looked like a routine base hit for the Indians' All-Star second baseman.

Kipnis said it was much more than that.

"Oh my God," Kipnis said with a laugh. "I wanted to do like Rickey Henderson. Take the base and hold it up there for a second."

That single in the first inning of Cleveland's 7-2 victory ended Kipnis' 0-for-19 drought in the batter's box, and served as a sigh of relief for the second baseman. Perhaps a bit more relaxed after shaking off the slump, Kipnis turned in a 2-for-3 showing that included a two-run home run in the third inning.

The blast pulled Kipnis into a tie with Carlos Santana for the team lead with 16 home runs, but it was the second baseman's first blast since July 21. Prior to Saturday's performance, Kipnis had also hit just .212 (14-for-66) with no homers and four RBIs over his previous 16 games.

Chalk it up as a cold spell that Kipnis hopes is now in his rear-view mirror.

"It's a long season. You know you're going to go through some ups and downs," said Kipnis. "Welcome to the game of baseball, where you feel great one day and the next day it just snaps off and you don't know how to even hold your hands up at the plate. For me, when I start thinking too much and start thinking during my at-bat, it shows.

"You'll see me take fastballs right down the middle and not even swing at them. And I'm like, 'Why can't I even pull the trigger?' A lot of it's mental. It's kind of clearing your head. You try not to think about it too much. You just want to get back to basics and try to simplify things as much as you can."

Entering Sunday's game against the Twins, Kipnis was hitting .285 with 23 stolen bases, 48 extra-base hits, 67 runs scored and 74 RBIs through 117 games.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.